Sonny Aragba-Akpore writes that AI can support SDGs in combatting climate crisis and in humanitarian response

Can Artificial Intelligence (AI) alter the narrative for growth of global economies? What difference can it really make when it’s knowledge and acceptance remain elusive?

There are nearly 15,000 AI memberships platforms globally but how much education do these platforms provide to society? Too many questions are left unanswered.

And with less than 10 years left to achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) thinks deployment of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics technologies could do the magic.

“AI holds great promise to advance many of sustainable development goals and targets,” a document by ITU said last week.

This is the focus of “AI for Good” summit due next week. AI is more than a movement because “AI for Good is presented as a year round digital platform where AI innovators and problem owners learn, build and connect to help identify practical AI solutions to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” ITU documents say.

“It’s in our collective interest that we can shape AI faster than it is shaping us,” said ITU Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin. “This summit, as the UN’s primary platform for AI, will bring to the table leading voices representing a diversity of interests to ensure that AI can be a powerful catalyst for progress in our race to rescue the SDGs.” 

The upcoming AI for Good Global Summit 2023 from July 6-7 in Geneva, Switzerland, combines 2,500+ participants and online participation from the over 15,000 members of the AI-powered community platform, the A​I for Good Neural Network, making it the world’s largest and most inclusive AI solutions and matchmaking event.

The two-day AI for Good Global Summit hosted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), together with 40 partner UN agencies, will demonstrate how new technologies can support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in areas such as combatting the climate crisis and bolstering humanitarian response.

Generative AI and human-machine collaboration will be key themes amid the release of tools that are beginning to change the way we think about creativity and productivity. 

The AI for Good Global Summit will feature eight humanoid social robots and over 50 specialized robots, being brought together for the first time under the same roof. The robots will showcase capabilities ranging from fighting fires and delivering aid to providing healthcare and farming sustainably. 

AI for Good is where human and robots meet. These robots include: Ameca –  the most advanced lifelike robot in the world (Engineered Arts), Nadine – one of the world’s most realistic humanoid social robots (University of Geneva), Sophia – first robot Innovation Ambassador for the United Nations Development Program (Hanson Robotics), Geminoid – ultra-realistic humanoid robot from Japan (Hiroshi Ishiguro), 4NE-1 – one of the world’s most advanced cognitive humanoid robots designed to collaborate with humans (Neura Robotics) , Ai-Da Robot – first ultra-realistic robot artist (Aidan Meller), Grace – the world’s most advanced humanoid healthcare robot (SingularityNET), Desdemona – the rockstar robot of the Jam Galaxy Band.

The event will also host the final round of the AI for Good Innovation Factory where start-ups from around the world will pitch their AI solutions to advance the SDGs. 

​​​​Artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics innovators—and their high-tech creations—will join humanitarian leaders in Geneva July,6-7, for the latest edition of the global summit advancing AI to drive sustainable development.

Two high-level roundtables – featuring policymakers, diplomats, industry executives, academics, and UN partners – will host crucial discussions on the guardrails needed for safe and responsible AI and the potential development of global AI governance frameworks.  

The AI for Good Global Summit, established in 2017, returns to Geneva in person for the first time since 2019. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, AI for Good transformed into a year-round online engagement platform bringing together a diverse range of participants from 183 countries. 

This year’s summit combines the best of the physical and virtual worlds, with the potential to welcome over 3,000 participants alongside online participation from the over 20,000 members of ITU’s fast-growing AI-powered community platform, the AI for Good Neural Network

The event will emphasize networking to build new projects, calls to action, and partnerships. AI for Good’s dynamic show floor will also include AI-inspired performances and artwork.   

AI for Good is being hosted by ITU, the UN specialized agency for information and communication technologies, together with 40 partner UN agencies. The summit is co-convened by the government of Switzerland. 

ITU’s global membership includes 193 Member States and – uniquely in the UN system – over 900 companies, universities, and international and regional organizations. 

Member States at ITU’s governing Plenipotentiary Conference in 2022 adopted a resolution supporting the tech agency’s work across the UN system to realize the benefits of AI for sustainable development.   

The two-day AI for Good Global Summit at The International Conference Centre Geneva is preceded by nine machine learning workshops on July 5, to be led by experts from the AI of Good Discovery series.

Experts say Artificial intelligence has revolutionized information technology. The new economy of information technology has shaped the way we are living. Recently, AI algorithms have attracted close attention of researchers and have also been applied successfully to solve problems in engineering. Nevertheless, for large and complex problems, AI algorithms consume considerable computation time due to stochastic feature of the search approaches. Therefore, there is a potential requirement to develop efficient algorithm to find solutions under the limited resources, time, and money in real-world application.

Aragba-Akpore is a member of THISDAY Editorial Board

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